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30 refugees to return from India, says Sri Lanka

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Colombo, Oct 12 : The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday said 30 Sri Lankan refugees in south India will return home next week.

The Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said the refugees will return as part of a voluntary repatriation programme assisted by the UN refugees agency, UNHCR, Xinhua news agency reported.

V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will provide free air tickets, reintegration allowance of $75 per person, transport allowance $19 and monitory non-food grant of $75 per family.

Since 2011, the ministry said, 5,110 refugees (1,863 families) have returned to Sri Lanka. Over 100,000 refugees are currently in India.

Minister Swaminathan initiated a Cabinet paper based on which livelihood assistance to refugee returnees is provided to support the livelihood activities.

The provision of dry ration to them has already been approved for six months.

The ministry has instructed officials to provide compensation for those who have lost their houses and suffered loss of family members and injuries.

Sivagnanasothy said the refugees who lost their houses will be provided with houses under the ministry programme.

The Sri Lankan government of under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena has initiated action to encourage the voluntary refugee returnee programme on a phase-out basis and the government said the current trend of increased refugee returnees is a sign of reconciliation and moving towards permanent peace.

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Pakistani man arrested for attacking Sikh shrine in England

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New Delhi/London, 25 May : A Pakistani man, who was trying to mobilise Sikhs against India over Kashmir in England, attacked the Guru Arjan Dev shrine in Derby on Monday morning. He was later identified and arrested.

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Italy registers 63,927 COVID-19 cases, toll touches 6,077

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Rome, March 24 : A total of 63,927 coronavirus cases have been assessed in Italy since the pandemic broke out in its northern regions on February 21, the Civil Protection Department managing the COVID-19 emergency has said, adding that 601 fatalities were also registered on Monday, with the death toll reaching 6,077.

The number of total infections grew by 4,789, or 8 per cent from 59,138 cases recorded on Sunday. The daily fatality figure dropped from Sunday’s 651 and Saturday’s 793, the department said, Xinhua reported.

Although still upward, the figures showed the daily rise in both the number of people testing positive and the number of deaths has been less marked for the second day in a row, Civil Protection Chief Angelo Borrelli told a press conference late Monday afternoon.

Health authorities, however, warned that it was still too early to confirm a decreasing trend in the ongoing pandemic.

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Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed sent to jail for five years

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New Delhi/Islamabad, 12 Feb : Just ahead of the FATF review, founder and patron of the banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, was convicted in terror funding cases and sent to jail for five-and-a-half years by a Pakistani court on Wednesday.

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